Top Tips for Planning an Extension

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Moving in London has become a less attractive prospect as the years have gone by; a perfect mix of rising property prices, expensive moving fees and high stamp duty has led to a trend of improving not moving. If you need more space in your house then an extension might be just what you need. Here are our top tips for planning an extension in London.

Type of extension

One of the first things you need to think about is the type of extension that you would like, and ensuring it will work for your property. At Simply Extend, we offer the following types of extensions:

  • Side return extension: this is where an extension is built into the alley way at the side of your house. It may seem like a small space, but it can have a great impact by opening up a room and letting in more light.
  • Wrap-around extension: this is where we combine a rear extension with a side return extension. This type of build tends to maximise the space available.
  • Rear extensions: does what it says on the tin, this is an extension that comes from the back of your property.
  • Double storey extensions: this is the most costly option, however, you do gain a considerable amount of space that can lead to an extra bedroom, home office space, expanded living space and/or an extra bathroom.

If you are not sure about the type of extension that will work in your property, we can offer you a free site survey and help you design your extension.

Planning permission

Once you have chosen your design, you may need to seek out planning permission. It may be possible to build an extension within permitted development. However, if this has already been exceeded or if you live in a conversation area then it is likely you will have to apply for planning consent. If you are planning quite a radical extension (i.e modern, not in keeping with the local architecture) then it is also likely that you will need planning permission. At Simply Extend, we can help you through the planning permission process.

Dealing with the building work

If you choose to work with Simply Extend we will deal with all the builders, tradesman and sub-contractors. However, dealing with day-to-day building work can be disruptive, especially if you have a family. How you deal with the building work is a personal choice and depends on your circumstances. For a dust free life, moving out and finding temporary accommodation can be one of the most hassle free options, but this is not always possible due to a myriad of reasons.

If you do decide to stay in the property, it is likely you will have to navigate life, for a short period of time, with dust, no kitchen and occasional breaks to the power and water. Here are some tips:

  • If you are building your extension in the summer and have to live without a kitchen for a little while you can always use a barbecue to cook. Ideally, use a gas barbecue as it will be much easier and more convenient
  • One user on Mums Net dealt with her extension by using paper plates, plastic cups and utensils. Washing up in the bathroom sink and planned takeaways, meals out and simple dishes that were easy to make using a kettle, toaster and microwave
  • Treat it like camping and explain to your children how you are going on an adventure for the duration of the build
  • Another Mums Net user put most of her and her family’s belongings in storage. This meant there was less dust damage and things were easier to clean
  • Use this opportunity to have a big clear out. We all accumulate stuff over time and taking the time to clear out what you do not need or want can be a very satisfying job and it also means you have more room for the new stuff you will inevitably want to buy

Want to improve your house with an extension? Then contact Simply Extend for a free site survey.

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Rachel Khoo: extension and renovation


Cook, writer and broadcaster, Rachel Khoo, has chosen Simply Extend to build her extension and reconfigure her North West London flat. This is not your typical project for Simply Extend.
Rachel, who had her own BBC show The Little Paris Kitchen, plans on using her flat as the base for her personal projects and magazine, Khoollect is an online lifestyle magazine and community that has travel and food at its core.
The extension will add 18sqm of space, which Rachel plans on using as an office and a studio to shoot footage and photographs for her website, blog and shows. However, this is not a commercial building, the refurbishment and renovation of the ground floor Victorian flat also aims to provide a relaxing home for her family and a place to entertain.
Rachel’s flat, which is part of a typical Victorian terrace, will be transformed from this:



Into this:



Rachel’s home will be made over into a multi-functional space with a cost-effective side return extension and the chimney breasts, with the ornamental fireplaces, will also be taken out. While this may sound sacrilege to some, Rachel, a busy working mum, needs the extra space this will provide for both her family and the business. The TV cook needs her flat to have:
• Desk space for five people
• A quiet space for meetings
• A kitchen that can be used for recipe development and filming
• White studio space for photography and filming
• Function as a family home with two bedrooms and storage space for the family’s belongings

For a flat that is only 52sqm it may sound like a tall order, but the team at Simply Extend have done this before. With some clever design ideas and reconfiguration it can be possible to transform a ground floor Victorian flat with a small garden, to a modern multifunctional space that meets the needs of a modern working family and business.
Keep up with the development of Khoo’s project here.
This is not the first London flat we have redesigned and added an extension to; take a look at our case studies from across the capital for inspiration. If you are thinking about adding an extension and reconfiguring your flat or apartment then contact Simply Extend for a no obligation free site survey.

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Flat roof extension

Flat roof extensions are one of the most common forms of home extensions in the UK. This is because they are generally easier to build, and are thus cheaper, than pitched roofs. Another reason flat roofs are popular is that they can give a more contemporary feel. However, there are disadvantages, such as a high level of maintenance and it does limit the height of your new extension’s ceiling.

Flat roofs are ideal for small structures as they save space and, contrary to what most people believe, a flat roof should always have a slight pitch to enable rainwater to drain. If you decide to opt for a flat roof, it is still possible to install design features such as skylights and light wells and you may even be able take advantage of the design to create a roof terrace – giving you more outdoor space.(This will need to be specified during the design process and is subject to planning approval.)

For inspiration on how your London flat roof extension could look, take a look at our case studies below:

Rosebery Road, Haringey


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This North London home has been transformed with a flat roof side return extension. Light wells, made of reinforced glass, were installed to ensure that plenty of light penetrated the room. The extra space has been used to create a large kitchen diner and a roof terrace on top of the extension roof. This feature has also allowed more natural light to enter a pre-existing bedroom. Click here to see more.

Kings Road, Kingston-on-Thames


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The owners of this South West London home have added a flat roof extension to their home to create a spacious and light kitchen diner. The floor to ceiling bi-folding doors give a seamless feel between the garden and the kitchen. Skylights have been installed over the dining table to let in as much daylight as possible. For more images and details, click here.

Colyton Road, Dulwich Southwark


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This contemporary extension located in Dulwich, South London has incorporated design features that allow as much light as possible to enter the open plan living space. Picture bi-folding doors help to bring the outdoors in and the three skylights offer, not just light, but also an interesting design feature. For more information and pictures, click here.

Manor Grove, Richmond


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For this build in South West London, we demolished an existing kitchen extension and built a modern flat roof extension to open up the rear of the house. Our team transformed this space into a kitchen diner that overlooks their landscaped garden, which we also created. Four skylights and two French windows give the room a light and spacious feel, and connect the space to the garden. To see more pictures, click here.


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Brondesbury Road, Queens Park


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This property in North West London shows that you do not need a large space, or even a house, to have a flat roof kitchen extension in London. This ground floor flat has been transformed with a clever extension and reconfiguration of the flat. A single long light well, a roof lantern and large bi-folding doors bring light into what might otherwise be a dark room. For more information, click here.

Balfour Road, Highbury Islington


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Contemporary and design-led, this Islington property has been brought into the 21st century with a wrap-around extension including a flat roof side return extension. Featuring a long light well over the kitchen, this open plan kitchen diner is designed to keep light flowing into the room. The bi-folding doors connect the inside with the modern decking outside – giving the owners the option of opening the room to the garden when the weather permits. For more details and images, click here.

Want to transform your London home with a flat roof extension? Then contact Simply Extend for a free site survey.

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Where to go in London for unique furniture finds?

London unique furniture

When embarking on a new extension, loft conversion, basement build or all three, you want to be able to fill your house with unique furnishings. London is full of independent shops, where you can find inexpensive treasures as well as budget-busting statement pieces. Below, we’ve listed our favourite places to find unique furniture in London.

Aladdin’s Cave, St Johns, South East London

Aladdin’s Cave is a warren of a shop, located on Loampit Hill in the South East London area of St Johns, close to Lewisham. Aladdin’s Cave is full to the rafters with preloved furniture, building materials and household items – with many of their wares spilling out onto the pavement area out front too. Only a stone’s throw away from Brockley Market, this curiosity shop is the place to go if you are renovating a Victorian property and want to keep a house’s character, or put it back in after previous owners have stripped it out. You can find a vast choice of wing-backed chairs, antique fireplaces, Victorian radiators and even a gymnast’s vaulting horse.

Do Shop, Covent Gardens

The Do Shop on Shorts Gardens, in the heart of London’s West End, is a design lover’s dream. The shop sells a mix of contemporary unique homewares from up and coming designers. The owners of this one-of-a-kind store support young designers with the ‘Do Masters’ programme, which handpicks design school graduates and sells their wares through its stores – making sure the graduates also get a fair cut.

Decoratum. Regent’s Park

If you love mid-twentieth century design then Decoratum is the place to go. This furniture shop is one of Europe’s largest commercial galleries and features furniture and lighting from, the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. They also stock a small amount of contemporary design furniture from some of today’s most talented designers. Decoratum is often described as a museum and, while their display is impeccable, the main difference is that everything is for sale and the layout changes from one month to the next.

Crystal Palace Antique and Modern

Billing itself as London’s leading Antique and modern design warehouse, Crystal Palace Antique and Modern is housed in a former textile warehouse and spread over four huge floors. With twenty dealers, you can find authentic antique homewares as well as design classics, ranging from art deco to mid-century modern.

Buy and sell apps

We are in the era of online shopping and we all know some of the best bargains out there are on the web. If you are on a budget or looking for items to upcycle, then buy and sell apps are a great place to look. You are mostly dealing with individuals selling their personal possessions, so you can find some real bargains. Some of the best out there are local Facebook buy and sell groups, Preloved, Gumtree and Shpock. It is also worth keeping an eye on your local Freecycle.

Want to expand your London home with an extension? Contact Simply Extend today for your free site survey.

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5 ways to save money on a new kitchen

save money on a new kitchen

Undertaking a kitchen extension is never an inexpensive prospect; while you may have spent months planning, and maybe even years dreaming of the perfect kitchen – sometimes it is necessary to tighten the budget; however, that does not mean you have to compromise too much on the dream. We take a look at the best things to save money on, and where to splash the cash, when planning your new kitchen.


A kitchen is an investment, so do not skimp on the planning. Get a professional kitchen designer to help you work out the right working triangle (sink, cooker, and fridge). Also, when you are thinking about this, take into account existing power and water supplies; moving them can be costly and time-consuming.

Kitchen units

The carcass, or skeleton, of the kitchen are really all the same. Don’t forget, kitchen units are just cupboards with nice doors on. No one sees the carcass of the kitchen, so you can save money by having an MFC or MDF one rather than solid wood. You can have the doors made of solid wood if you wish. It’s worth noting that solid wood is more likely to warp and distort over time than MDF will and MDF is also easier to clean.

Where to buy your kitchen from

One of the cheapest places to buy a kitchen is to go to a builder’s merchant; their quality and value for money tends to be good. Most won’t have fitters, but they are likely to know and be able to recommend reputable tradesmen for you.

The chain DIY stores can also be good value, but the cost of fitting tends to be high. Usually, local independent companies can offer better value for money as their overheads are lower. Another option is having a kitchen designed by a qualified kitchen designer and then going to a joiner to make it – surprisingly this can be cheaper than many kitchen showrooms and you get a more bespoke product. However, this can take longer than an ‘off the shelf’ kitchen


When it comes to buying your appliances, it is normally cheaper to get them yourself than to get them from your kitchen company. The best thing to do is shop around, look out for deals and utilise online resources such as Google shopping or auction sites. Built-in appliances are more expensive than freestanding appliances. Make sure that you have the measurements handy before committing to a purchase to ensure your new appliances will fit into the space provided.

It’s all about the detail

If you have opted for a cheaper kitchen, you can give it a luxury aesthetic by investing in top quality handles for the cupboards and draws. Opting for a high-quality floor can also improve the look overall and it may also add value, depending on the materials you use.

When it comes to worktops, you can save money by mixing materials. For example, if you want a solid granite worktop then you could choose just to use it on the island or breakfast bar (if you are having one) – and then opt for a less expensive material on the other parts of the kitchen which won’t get as much use.

An extension from Simply Extend does not mean you will just get an empty shell that you will be left to fill on your own. We can help you source and fit your dream kitchen. Contact us today for a free site survey.

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2017 London house extension inspiration

The trend for ‘improve not move’ looks set to carry on into 2017. With the cost of moving and house prices continuing to rise, it makes sense for London families to expand their current properties rather than move to a new one. If you’re thinking of getting an extension on your house take a look at our videos for some extension inspiration.

Highbury, North London – Rear Kitchen Extension

This Victorian home in Highbury, North London, underwent an extensive renovation; it included a rear kitchen extension and a loft conversion, with the latter constructed by our sister company, Simply Loft. The owners of this extension have created a beautiful kitchen diner with exposed brick and bi-folding doors, which bring the outside in. The design also features a strategic light well over the sink and the kitchen uses sleek lines and a contrasting colour palette to maximise space.

Balham, South West London, Side Return Extension

Bright and airy, this side return extension, in the South West London enclave of Balham, is a great example of what can be done in a normal period terrace. Light was important to this family, and the combination of bi-folding doors, floor to ceiling windows and skylights above the dining table ensures plenty of natural light flows into this family orientated room. The traditional kitchen and large warm-coloured wooden table give this modern extension a homely feel.

Queens Park – Rear Extension and Refurbishment

This pretty rear extension on a ground floor garden flat in Queens Park near Kilburn in North West London, just goes to prove that you don’t need to own a house to extend your home. This project saw a complete renovation of the flat that included a reconfiguration of the bedrooms, bathroom and living room. A light well and wall-to-wall bi-folding doors let in plenty of light into what was once a dark space. The reconfiguration has enhanced the property’s period features and gives the family a workable space to live, work and play.

East Sheen London – Rear Kitchen Extension

A modern extension can transform a home no matter when it was built. This early 20th-century family home opted for a rear pitched roof kitchen extension, which gives the room a lofty feel. Skylights are fitted into the slope of the roof and let in plenty of natural light, as does the triangular window above the door. This family have also opted for bi-folding doors which connects with the garden, offering indoor-outdoor living all year round. The stylish kitchen is sociable and has been designed with entertaining in mind.

If you want to improve your London home in 2017, then contact us today for a free site survey.

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Five flooring options for your extension

flooring options for your extension

If you are having an extension built, then what you plan on using the extra space for will influence the kind of flooring you choose. Whether you are building a kitchen, dining room, living room or all three in one open plan setting, here are some flooring ideas to get you inspired.

Underfloor heating

Underfloor heating is becoming more popular in the UK. Not only does it make your feet feel all warm and toasty, but it’s an efficient way to heat your home. Underfloor heating is also highly versatile and can lie underneath a number of different types of flooring such as stone, ceramic, terracotta, timber, some laminates and even carpet.

Wood and laminate flooring

Wooden flooring or laminate is one the most versatile flooring materials there is. It brings a warm and natural feel to any setting. There are four different types of timber flooring; solid wood, reclaimed timber, multi-layered or engineered wood and laminate flooring. Solid wood and reclaimed timber is the hardest wearing and can be sanded down every five to seven years. Good quality, multi-layered or engineered wood should be able to withstand a sanding or two if it gets damaged, but if laminate flooring is scratched, chipped or damaged in any way, it will have to be replaced. If choosing laminate flooring, then pick out high-quality boards that are scratch resistant.


Tiles are ideal for kitchen extensions and for anyone wishing to use their extra space to create an indoor/outdoor area. Tiles come in many forms such as natural stone, terracotta and ceramic. They are practical and hard wearing but they are also beautiful and can be full of texture. If you are creating one large open plan living space, then using tiles can be a great way to define space.

flooring options for your extension

Polished Concrete

When you think of concrete, flooring probably does not pop to mind. However, for those who want to add a contemporary edge to their extension design and something that is hard wearing, polished concrete flooring can be a great option. Coming in many colours and textures, concrete flooring can be used with underfloor heating. Other benefits include: that it improves with age, will not harbour dust mites and produces a neutral backdrop for interior design.


Several newspapers and magazines have declared that carpets are back! Even property queen, Sarah Beany, is recommending house sellers to carpet their homes. One of the reasons leading to this trend is the rising cost of fuel – carpets are of course warmer under foot. If you do choose a carpet for your extension, make sure it’s hard wearing and there is a suitable door mat at the entrance.

If you would like to create more space for you and your family with an extension then contact Simply Extend for a Free Site Survey!

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Utility room ideas: What you need to know

utility room ideas

Utility rooms are fast becoming seen as an essential part of modern living. These practical and serviceable spaces offer a place to hide some of the more unsightly household chores. After all, do you want your guests to see a pile of dirty laundry or your underwear hanging up to dry? No, you don’t.

“With the increase in open-plan living, we’ve noticed customers prefer to create a defined separation between their kitchen and utility functions, where space permits,” said Tony McCarthy, from Crown Imperial told Real Homes.

So, if you’re thinking of getting an extension and adding a utility room, here is Simply’s simple guide to how to make the most of your available space.

If extending your home to include a utility room, how much space do you need?

When defining how much space you should dedicate to a utility room, think about what you want to get out of it. Will it be more of a laundry room, downstairs bathroom, a pantry, back kitchen, a general dumping ground or all of the above?

Whatever your utility room is for, you’ll be surprised what you can fit in a small space with clever space saving tricks. If you plan on storing your washer and dryer in the room, you can stack them to save space.

Add tall cupboards to keep your upright hoover, mops and brushes. Having open shelving is also the most efficient way to store food, but if you like things to be behind closed doors, sliding doors are ideal for small spaces.

Where should I put my utility room?

Theoretically, you can have a utility room anywhere in the house. However, wherever it’s located, your appliances will need to be plumbed into the water and heating supply. It is more efficient and economical to have your utility room next to your kitchen and it’s also usually more practical in a general scene.

What should I have in my utility room?

This of course depends on what you want from this space. If you are using it as more of a laundry room then having a sink is something to consider. It can be used to soak clothes when necessary, as well as clean dirty shoes and bathe any small pets.

One easy thing to overlook is power points. If you are creating a utility room as part of an extension, make sure enough power points for all those appliances are planned in.

Underfloor heating can be put to excellent practical use in utility rooms. It can help dry your washing faster without taking up any wall space.

If you are putting in cabinets, and the utility room is connected to the kitchen, you may want to use the same style cabinets to create a cohesive flow. Also, as this is a practical space, easy to wipe work surfaces are essential.

If you want to create an extension to include a utility room, call Simply Extend today. We are specialists in creating fixed cost extensions in London.

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How to make your home extension energy efficient

home extension energy efficient

When building an extension it pays to have the environment in mind. By making it energy efficient you can save money on your running costs and maybe even on your build. Here’s how to make your extension energy efficient and environmentally friendly.


External wall insulation is one of most effective types of insulations you can have. It works by fixing a layer of insulation material to the wall, then covering it with a reinforcement and a special type of render. Highly recommended by Greenage, a leading energy saving advice website, external wall insulation can increase thermal efficiency, reduced heat gain in warm weather, can prevent penetrating damp, be applied without disruption, reduce energy bills by 40% and helps to muffle sound entering the home.

Infrared heating panels

Infrared heating panels work through radiation, not convection. They emit infrared waves, which travel through space and warm up any objects they hit including your body. Once heated with infrared, furniture, walls and floors, will release it slowly back into the room over time. Infrared light is the reason we feel warm in the sun even when the air temperature is cool. Standard convection radiators work by heating the air around you, which is easily lost through windows, doors and floorboards. You can buy panels in an array of materials and plug them into the wall or they can be hardwired into the system by an electrician. They use up less electricity helping to keep your bills down.


If you are installing skylights or Velux windows as part of your extension you can choose ones that are controlled by solar power. Velux became the first to manufacture such windows. These windows consist of triple outer glazing and an additional inner double-glazing. They also feature solar powered shutters, which can be controlled by a touch-screen control pad.

The sun does not shine all the time so when it comes to artificial light LED lighting is the way to go. They use 90% less power than traditional light bulbs.


If you want to keep your environmental footprint light then choose eco paint. Proper eco paint is high quality, breathable and made without the use of petrochemicals. Some eco paints can be composted.

Upcycle and pre-loved furniture

Everyone loves a bargain, and going on the hunt for upcycled and pre-loved furniture will save you money as well as help the environment. You can find pre-loved furniture on Facebook buy and sell pages, charity shops, car boot sales and websites like Freecycle.

Underfloor heating

There is nothing more satisfying than feeling a warm floor beneath your feet on a cold winter’s day. Underfloor heating has a bad reputation of being pricey, but in the long run, it’s a far more efficient way to heat your home than convection radiators. On the downside, they can take longer to heat up than traditional heating systems but you do have a more even distribution of heat.

Looking to add an extension to your London home? Then contact Simply Extend for a free site survey today.

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A guide to Crittall windows

Crittall is an Essex based steel window company that have been around for almost three centuries. From 1919 to the 1980s, Critall manufactured ‘cottage windows’ for government housing schemes across the country. Many of these windows can still be seen on early 20th century council flat blocks, especially in London.

The trend for picture and floor to ceiling windows, as well as stricter conservation rules, has brought Crittall’s steel windows back into fashion and their traditional style windows especially, are in demand across the capital.

What are Crittall windows?

Crittall windows are steel framed galvanised windows that are polyester powder coated, which is electrostatically sprayed and baked on. This means that repainting windows is a thing of the past. One of their specialisms is replacing like-for-like windows on listed and heritage buildings.

How are they manufactured?

After the windows have been measured and designed, each Crittall window is hot-dipped galvanised to BS EN 1461: 2009; this ensures that the finished products are completely protected against corrosion. To ensure further durability they are given a Polyester powder coating to the thickness of at least 60 microns. Once they have gone through this process, they are assembled and shipped.

Why use steel windows?

Steel windows have been used in all types of buildings across the world for hundreds of years. The reason why architects love these windows is because:

  • Narrow sightlines
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Strength: they are stronger than any other material
  • Steel windows are easy to install

What kind of Crittall windows are there?

No matter what kind of house you have, you can find a Crittall product that works for you:

  • Homelight: this lets the maximum amount of light into your home. The strong, slim and elegant frames look great on any home. If energy-saving is important to your build then choose Homelight Plus. These windows are more energy-efficient and feature enhanced security.
  • Berkeley: these windows were created to replace existing 1920s and 1930s steel windows that were single pane. This modern incarnation of cottage windows features double glazing and enhanced security.
  • W20: this is what you need if you want to replace a wall with a window. Designed to transfer maximum levels of interior light using their minimalist profiles.
  • C2000: this contemporary style window has all the benefits of modern glazing technology with elegant slender styling. Designed as an alternative to less durable aluminium, it is pressure equalised and double weatherstripped for insulation and performance.

If you are looking for a great alternative to bi-folding doors on the back of your kitchen extension, then Crittall windows can also be made into panels with doors that open up into your garden. Whilst providing character to your home, they also let through just as much light as bi-folding doors.

If you want to expand your house with an extension then contact Simply Extend for a free site survey.

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